Contact and call
center performance

Author: Heidi Vella

Contact centers are often the epicenter of a business's customer service experience offering. Operating at their best, they will engage customers, empower agents and differentiate an organization by providing an efficient—yet personalized—consumer encounter.

To consistently achieve such high standards in today's competitive business environment, it may not be enough for managers to rely only on simple client surveys to assess the quality of service their contact centers are delivering. Leaders need to consider measuring and analyzing operations over a variety of contact and call center performance metrics.

Contact center metrics and key performance indicators

Unlike a call center, a contact center provides an omnichannel approach to customer services, it may use a variety of communication tools, such as text, chat, email or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone services to communicate with customers.

To gain a detailed insight into the effectiveness of a business's contact center operations, there are several essential contact center metrics and key performance indicators to assess. These workforce management tools allow managers to analyze every customer transaction and interaction, across all channels, whether it be phone calls, text, chat or emails. So, what are these important contact and call center performance metrics?

First contact resolution

This is critical among contact and call center performance metrics. First contact resolution measures the percentage of customer queries that are successfully solved at the first point of contact.

One way to calculate first contact resolution is to send a message—a text or email—to the customer asking if their recent interaction with the company solved their query and if they would consider the communication successful. This contact can help to provide the consumer perspective on the interaction, rather than only the call center agent's opinion of the exchange.

First contact resolution is an industry-accepted marker of efficiency because if a customer's question is answered adequately the first time, no follow-up contact is required. This saves valuable time for both the agents (and businesses) and the clients.

As well as measuring call center operators' performance, first contact resolution also helps assess the efficacy of the tools and technologies customers use. Companies can measure through which mediums—text, phone calls, chatbots, or email—customer requirements are most easily and quickly met, and which are less effective. Further investigations can be made as to why.

Data collection is the bread and butter of contact center metrics and key performance indicators. First contact resolution data will help firms understand how to achieve better operational efficiency so client needs are met the first time around. This can, in turn, boost overall customer satisfaction scores.

Net promoter rate

A net promoter rate or score measures a customer's willingness to recommend a company's products and/or services to others.

Recommendations can be collected post-consumer contact, regardless of the channel they used, by texting or emailing one simple and quick follow-up question—e.g. "On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this product?" Depending on their answer, the client can be categorized as either a promoter, a detractor or neutral.

Gaining insight into contact and call center performance metrics can provide a company with information on how satisfied a consumer is with its products and services. For example, are they content enough they are willing to recommend the organization to others? It also gives an insight into the level of brand loyalty a company has garnered.

Understanding whether a company's net promoter rate is positive or negative can help firms meet their business goal of fostering organic growth through high levels of customer satisfaction. If the overall net promoter score is negative, the organization needs to consider doing more to win repeat customers.

Call abandonment rate

Call abandonment rate measures the percentage of how many customers end their call before it is answered by contact center staff. It's not to be confused with missed calls, dropped calls or lost calls.

Call abandonment rate is calculated by measuring the number of calls made compared to the number that are handled. The deficit will be the abandonment rate, or the number of clients that chose to hang up before their call was answered by an agent.

Contact and call center performance metrics such as this can help managers assess the effectiveness of their holding message and interactive voice response system and whether their staff are adequately distributed across channels, reducing call wait times. The data also can help leaders to devise strategies to improve high abandonment rates.

For the sales team, abandoned calls can translate into fewer transactions. Therefore, tracking contact center metrics and key performance indicators such as this, and acting on the information captured, can help companies meet their revenue targets. For technical support calls, it can result in providing more satisfied, and thus repeat, customers.

Active waiting calls

In an age of online shopping and instant messaging, customers generally have grown to expect extremely fast response times from companies. Wait times matter. Active waiting call is a key performance indicator that measures the number of active waiting calls and the average time a customer waits before being connected with a contact center agent. It can be measured across the board, from individual agents to entire contact centers and ring groups where a group of forwarding numbers within an extension ring simultaneously when the hosted extension rings.

The contact and call center performance metrics will let managers know how many calls are being received and how quickly they are being answered. This information can be shared with agents and supervisors, so they know in real time the status of all the calls in the system.

Contact centers with queues may see customers abandon calls and choose not to return. Leaders can become more aware of what is going on with their customer calls so that they can take action to ensure that time frames are reduced and customer satisfaction is increased.

Leverage contact and call center performance metrics

The saying goes, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it," and this applies perfectly to the contact center context. By tracking the right contact center metrics and key performance indicators, businesses can differentiate themselves from the competition by providing highly efficient and convenient customer service that feels personal to the client.

For some businesses, partnering with a managed services provider can help shift some of the responsibilities of operating the contact center and free management to focus on performance optimization.

Learn more about how Verizon contact center solutions can support your business and improve contact and call center performance metrics.